Headley's Millennium Pageant

Saturday, 10th June 2000

The weather was superb, and the Green was filled with people.

The procession of floats left the Holme School, Openfields, at 1pm for the Village Green. On arriving at the Green, those floats which were to take part in the Pageant were manoeuvred into place at the far end (between Square House and the swings) where the drama later took place. The Fete, Arena Activities, Craft Demonstrations and Exhibitions began at 1.30pm and ended by 4pm. The Pageant started at 4pm and lasted until 5.15pm.

See photos of Headley Theatre Club contribution

Headley Pageant logo, based on the first character of 'Hallege' as written in the Domesday Book

The Pageant was based on historical events relating to the parish of Headley.

By request, the script is shown below—

Children - run round the front of the floats with blue cloth streaming behind them
PA: river theme-Smetana's Moldau

Narrator 1 (on stage, speaks as children run)

First there was the river...
Before man walked these lands,
before he tilled the soil and ground his corn,
before he took the stream to power his mills
and irrigate his land,
the water flowed unchecked
from unnamed hills to unnamed sea.

Where did they come from, these first men and women?
Dressed, as we suppose, in animal skins
and chipping out their tools from flints.
-These you see here found locally at Trottsford
before the sandpits scooped away the evidence.

Stone age turned to bronze age, and bronze age to iron age;
we wove cloth, we farmed the land, we husbanded,
we created hamlets and communities;
and here, on rising ground above the river
-ground cleared from the surrounding waste-
we can imagine our 'heath-lea' was created.

Romans walk (from round half the floats to the stage - exit upstage) PA: Marching feet

Narrator 2 (speaks from behind them as they walk)

Veni, Vidi, Vici! Caesar came, he saw, he conquered. The Romans came to Britain and remained for many generations.
And centuries later, the rector in Headley made the following comments in a letter to his famous contemporary, Gilbert White of Selborne ...

Reader 1 (on the stage)

Reverend Sir,

Out of a large pot of Medals which were found in Wulmere pond, I collected a regular series from Claudius Drusus to Commodus included; that is, Medals of all the Roman Emperors from A.D. 43 to A.D. 194. Vespasian, a General under Claudius Drusus, about A.D. 47, marched down with a Roman Army this way, from the parts where London now is, towards Porchester, South Hampton and the Isle of Wight. It is beautiful on Headley Heath and Common to observe the Entrenchments of the Romans and Britons over against each other; the first advancing, the other retreating. The Romans crossed Headley River at Standford, and advanced to the place which now is Wulmere pond; and there fixed an abiding Station or City, which remained for near 150 years. Great treasures even now lye buried in that pond....

I am, Sir, most respectfully,
Your obedient servant
William Sewell

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

The Roman empire rose-the Roman Empire fell; and in came the barbarians. Angles, Saxons and Jutes brought customs and culture of their own - then the Danes and Norsemen invaded. In 1066 and all that, the Normans arrived to stay ...

Waltzing Matilda - Arford Bells (in front of stage)

So why 'Waltzing Matilda'?

Narrator 2 (on the stage)

Because the new king's wife was called Matilda, and for many years afterwards it seems that if you wanted to be queen of England, you had to be called Matilda-until one day we found we had a Queen Eleanor instead, and our king was Henry of Anjou PA: sound of wine bottle being opened

-and 845 years later, the Angevins are back! [Narrator 2 then moves to Church float]

Songs of old Anjou from Corné (on stage)

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

The centuries rolled by, but some things never change:-

1381 Peasants' Revolt in protest at poll tax

1382 New English Bible published

1389 Battle of Kossovo - Serbs defeated

Narrator 2 (in front of Church float)

Here in Headley at this time we were building the church tower, and at about the same time Geoffrey Chaucer was writing his Canterbury Tales.

Reader (Frank Wood on All Saints' float)

In Headley village, high above ye brooke
Which trickles down the valley from Liphook,
Did men construct with mortar, stone and hod
A tower in glory of Almighty God.

Of local stone they raised it to the sky,
Three storeys with a belfry on high
Topped with a steeple, and, lest we forget,
The rector then was Thomas Aumenet.

Now why the tower was built, we cannot say:
Perhaps the Rector won ye lottery;
Perhaps, to try and earn himself an earldom,
He built a better one than at East Worldham,

For it is said, and this the sooth I tell,
One Geoffrey Chaucer there perchance did dwell,
And he, while penning all his naughty rhymes,
Was also servant to the King betimes.

So who can tell? Did Thomas hope to gain
His place among the writings of the thane?
But if he tried, we also know he failed-
For in ye book there is no Rector's Tale.

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

At this time, Dick Whittington became Lord Mayor of London - and we've had pantomimes ever since!

Dick Whittington (Ken Livingstone?) and his cat (Dobbo?) - walk round in front of floats

Narrator 2 (in front of Headley Society float)

A hundred and thirty years later, in 1520, in the reign of King Henry VIII, the Rector, John Fyshe, granted his Churchwardens a piece of land on the condition that they built a new house for use of the Church for recreation, on the payment of 5s.6d per annum - The Parish House, now Suters in Headley High Street. [Narrator 2 then moves to front of stage]

Greensleeves - Arford Bells (in front of stage)

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

In 1538 Thomas Cromwell issued his famous Injunctions of which the twelfth reads: 'Item, that you and every parson, vicar or curate within the Diocese, shall for every Church keep one book or register, wherein ye shall write the day and year of every wedding, christening and burying made in your parish for your time, and so every man succeeding you likewise, and also there insert every person's name that shall be so wedded, christened or buried.' Next year, the first church records were kept in Headley ...

Church Bells chime - Arford Bells (in front of stage)

Narrator 2 (from front of stage)

"Anno Domini 1539. De Maritatis. The 1st daye off July was marryed Robert Hardyng and Kateryn Woolffe." [Narrator 2 then moves to Holme School float]

Tableau of Wedding (wedding party moves from stage to Church float)

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

Robert Harding lived at Plaster Hill Farm. In a list compiled at around that time, there were some 60 houses scattered around Headley parish - including buildings in Grayshott, Barford, Standford, Linsted and Headley Street itself.

Census Man (on the stage)

For the first time tonight, ladies & gentlemen, I come to regale you with facts and figures. Who am I?
I am the Census Man. And in 1539, I didn't exist! But I'm not going to let a little thing like that get in my way. Sixty houses the man said - and how many people in each house do you suppose? Two adults, two-point-five children and half a dog? I think not. They had lots more children in those days for a start, and grandma and grandpa probably lived in too. So, I'm going to say five or six people to a house, on average. Would you go along with that? Yes? So, who's good at arithmetic? There's sixty houses with five people in each - how many people? [300] - and if there were six people in each? [360]. So, let's say upwards of 350 people in 1539.

Year 1539 - Population 350 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Narrator 2 (from in front of Holme School float)

"Give us back our 11 days!"

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

What's all this? -In 1752, the Julian calendar was dropped, and the Gregorian calendar was adopted - and Sept 3rd was followed by Sept 14th. People felt they had been cheated of 11 days of their life.

Narrator 2 (from in front of Holme School float)

And three years later, in 1755, George Holme, our rector, starts the school which still bears his name - "for teaching and instructing twelve poor children of either sex in reading, writing and arithmetic". Girls were also taught sewing and knitting. Any number could attend the school, but only twelve could benefit from the Charity; the rest had to pay: Labourers 2d, Journeymen 3d, Tradesmen 4d, Farmers 9d per week, with a reduction for each additional child. [Narrator 2 then moves in front of stage]

Holme School float- playground rhymes, etc

Census Man (on the stage)

The first national census was held in 1801. The Government of the day was concerned about the rate of population increase, and decided it needed to take a simple count of heads every ten years. According to this census, the population of Headley parish in 1801 was 858.

Year 1801- Population 858- score put up on Cricket Club float

Reader 1 (on the stage)

'Memorandum 1803: That the Church Spire was new shingled this year and the present Weather-Cock or Vane (more properly called) was placed upon it the 13th December. The Vane is made of Copper with Iron Braces, weights 25 lbs. and is in length 5ft 3ins. It was made at Bromley in Kent, and was the gift of the present Rector, Henry Smith; it cost six guineas without the carriage. Witness, John Fox, Curate.'

Reader 2 (on the stage)

On a gravestone in the Churchyard is written: 'In memory of Anne the wife of Henry WHITE who departed this life January 18, 1807 aged 76 years. Her death was occasioned by the bite of a mad dog.'
PA: Dog barking

Census Man (on the stage)

By the time of the third national census, held in 1821, the population of Headley parish had risen above the thousand mark for the first time.

Year 1821- Population 1,093 - score put up on Cricket Club float

William Cobbett - rides round in front of floats

Reader 1 (on the stage)

Sunday, 24 November 1822 - We got to Headley, the sign of the Holly-Bush, just at dusk, and just as it began to rain. I had neither eaten nor drunk since eight o'clock in the morning; and as it was a nice little public-house, I at first intended to stay all night, an intention that I afterwards very indiscreetly gave up. I had laid my plan, which included the getting to Thursley that night.

When, therefore, I had got some cold bacon and bread, and some milk, I began to feel ashamed of stopping short of my plan, especially after having so heroically persevered in the 'stern path,' and so disdainfully scorned to go over Hindhead.

I knew that my road lay through a hamlet called Churt, where they grow such fine bennet-grass seed. Wishing to execute my plan, I at last brought myself to quit a very comfortable turf-fire, and to set off in the rain, having bargained to give a man three shillings to guide me. I took care to ascertain, that my guide knew the road perfectly well; that is to say, I took care to ascertain it as far as I could, which was, indeed, no farther than his word would go.

Off we set, the guide mounted on his own or master's horse, and with a white smock frock, which enabled us to see him clearly. We trotted on pretty fast for about half an hour; and I perceived, not without some surprise, that the rain, which I knew to be coming from the South, met me full in the face, when it ought, according to my reckoning, to have beat upon my right cheek. I called to the guide repeatedly to ask him if he was sure that he was right, to which he always answered 'Oh! yes, Sir, I know the road.' I did not like this, 'I know the road.'

At last, after going about six miles in nearly a Southern direction, the guide turned short to the left. That brought the rain upon my right cheek, and, though I could not very well account for the long stretch to the South, I thought, that, at any rate, we were now in the right track; and, after going about a mile in this new direction, I began to ask the guide how much further we had to go; for, I had got a pretty good soaking, and was rather impatient to see the foot of Hindhead.

Just at this time, in raising my head and looking forward as I spoke to the guide, what should I see, but a long, high, and steep hanger arising before us, the trees along the top of which I could easily distinguish! The fact was, we were just getting to the outside of the heath, and were on the brow of a steep hill, which faced this hanging wood.

The guide had began to descend; and I had called to him to stop; for the hill was so steep, that, rain as it did and wet as my saddle must be, I got off my horse in order to walk down. But, now behold, the fellow discovered, that he had lost his way! - Where we were I could not even guess.

There was but one remedy, and that was to get back if we could. I became guide now; and did as Mr Western is advising the Ministers to do, retraced my steps.

We went back about half the way that we had come, when we saw two men, who showed us the way that we ought to go. At the end of about a mile, we fortunately found the turnpike-road; not, indeed, at the foot, but on the tip-top of that very Hindhead, on which I had so repeatedly vowed I would not go!

We came out on the turnpike some hundred yards on the Liphook side of the buildings called the Hut; so that we had the whole of three miles of hill to come down at not much better than a foot pace, with a good pelting rain at our backs.

It is odd enough how differently one is affected by the same sight, under different circumstances. At the 'Holly-Bush' at Headley there was a room full of fellows in white smock frocks, drinking and smoking and talking, and I, who was then dry and warm, moralised within myself on their folly in spending their time in such a way. But, when I got down from Hindhead to the public-house at Road-Lane, with my skin soaking and my teeth chattering, I thought just such another group, whom I saw through the window sitting round a good fire with pipes in their mouths, the wisest assembly I had ever set my eyes on.

Narrator 2 (from in front of stage)

William Cobbett also predicted unrest among the farm labourers in the south of England - and in the autumn of 1830 he was proved right. In that year, the so-called 'Swing Riots' swept from Kent in the east to Wiltshire in the west, and on 23rd November, it was Headley's turn. This is how John Lickfold describes what he saw when the Workhouse was ransacked that day. [Narrator 2 then moves back to the Church float]

Reader 2 (on the stage, as the Rioters do their business)

Tuesday 23 November 1830 [sketch]

John Lickfold's eye-witness account (Tuesday 23 November 1830)

Oh! it was a mob! Ah! there must have been 2000 of them. The old rector, Mr Dickinson, was living where Mrs Bennett lives at Hilland 'cause the Rectory was under repair at the time - & when he heard what was coming, he popped down to old Mr Eustace, down there, you know, at Arford House, but they dragged him out, & his wife too, Mrs Dickinson, & they brought them all up to the green; & the women patted them on the back, "Aha! you'll come down 300 I know" & they made him sign a paper that he wouldn't take more than so much tithe.

My eye, I recollect so well about the Workhouse. They had been to me in the morning & I had given them some food when old Shoesmith, the master of the Workus then, comes up & says, "Do come down Mr Lickfold," so down I went, & after we had been there a while we saw them coming up that road from Standford, such a lot of them ah! some 2 or 3 hundred; & on they comes & one of them acts as leader. "Halt!" says he, & he comes into the place in front & up to the door. "Turn out," says he, "we're agoing to pull the place down." So Shoesmith goes out to him - "You'll give us time won't you, to take out our traps?" "All right," says he, "we'll give you two hours." So off they went down the Road. By-&-by they comes back & O lor they did pull it to pieces. They pulled all the flooring up, & destroyed everything & put their sticks through the roof till the dust looked like smoke, & then they sacked the place.

Oh, I'm deuced glad I had nothing to do with it. You know Triggs out here, well his father was in it. They had some London workmen down here doing the Rectory, so old Triggs goes & drags out a workman & tells him to come & join, but he said he would rather die than join. The foreman tried to persuade Triggs to go back to his work - just opposite my shop there I heard him say now "Triggs come back it'll be the worse for you in the end"; but Triggs wouldn't; then he says to the other workman "Now Tom you come back". And being a Londoner, he hadn't so much interest I suppose in it. Well when the foreman found he couldn't persuade Triggs, he writes to London for soldiers - he knew lots of languages so he wrote in Dutch; - "they won't understand it even if they get hold of it," he said; - they was a long time coming - two days, - & the only person in this Parish they could punish was Triggs - he was the only man the London man could swear to, so he was transported, & never came back.

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

And who would have guessed then that, almost a century and a half later, the same house would become the cradle to one of the world's most popular pop songs.

Stairway to Heaven - Arford Bells (in front of stage)

Census Man (on the stage)

And in the year following the riot, the population in the census had risen to 1,228.

Year 1831- Population 1,228 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Reader 1 (on the stage)

"On Ascension Day, May 12th 1836, the Porch of the Church was injured, the spire and interior of the Tower destroyed by fire. Divine Providence was pleased to arrest the further progress of the flames. Praise ye the Lord." The fire had broken out in a shed close by the Church, owing to some straw catching alight from matches which some children had been playing with.

Narrator 2 (from in front of the Church float)

Mr Henry Knight told Mr. Laverty that he was on the roof assisting to extinguish the flames though his friends tried to persuade him to come down. By-and-by the shingle of the spire had all burnt away leaving only a solitary upright iron rod on which the vane was. So in order to prevent this from falling on the roof, the people below fired bullets at the vane, but with no effect, for it fell into the old gallery and of course set it on fire. [Narrator 2 then moves to the Cricket Club float]

Census Man (on the stage)

I'm going to move you on by 40 years. Another 350 or so added to the population.

Year 1871- Population 1,581 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Narrator 1 (from the stage)

And the following year, we had a new rector. A young man called Mr Laverty. [Narrator 1 then moves to the Horticultural Soc float]

Reader 1 (on the stage)

When news arrived that a young man was coming as Rector, certain people expressed a fear that being young and coming from Oxford, he would be dreadfully 'high church'. This feeling was not diminished when on the Rector's arrival he cleaned up the Church and put a little colour on the walls, but Mr. Bettesworth, the Churchwarden, said, "The world wags, and Mr. Laverty's a young man, and you can't expect him to stand still like an old man as Mr. Dykes". The "young man" got to work at once.
In November 1872 the 'Monthly Illustrated Journal' was begun, and this, under various names, has continued to be issued ever since. [Holds up a current copy of the Parish Magazine]

Narrator 2 (from in front of the Cricket Club float)

Mr. Laverty also reintroduced the 'beating the bounds' of the parish in 1872, and in the same year the Cricket Club was formed, and played its first match on May 12. PA Music: BBC Cricket theme

[Narrator 2 then moves to the RL entrance]

Reader 2 (on the stage)

From "A Cup for Cricket" by Theo Pope:
'The Rectory Field on a hot summer's day, with buttercups thick in the outfield and sloping down to the long, rather narrow table in the centre, The Holme School at the bottom end of the ground and, beyond, the village green and the pine trees rising from the hills with distant cottages barely visible through the shimmering haze. Most cricketers who have visited Headley will recall that picture. And, looking up from the pitch, the old Parish Church in the background with the clock on the tower chiming the hours, the rather unsightly pavilion with players and spectators crowding the verandah, the little teashop behind, with cups tinkling, and the landlord leaning over the fence of the Holly Bush garden. At one end, the tall holly hedge right behind the bowler's arm; at the other the magnificent horse chestnut on the boundary, a challenge to every hitter. The game, like the tree, had its roots in Headley well over a century ago, and the club is one of the oldest in the district.'

Narrator 1 (from in front of the Horticultural float)

In 1885, the Horticultural Society was founded, and two years later we celebrated Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Reader 1 (on the stage)

On Tuesday the residents of Headley celebrated Her Majesty's Jubilee by holding a very successful festival in the Rectory grounds. On the same occasion the Foresters, Court Forget-me-Not, held their fifth anniversary at the same place. It can thus be easily understood by those who know the energy and zeal that the Headley people always display when they put their hands to any undertaking of this character that the festivities of Tuesday gave satisfaction to all. Indeed, it was such a day of merrymaking and general rejoicing as has rarely if ever taken place in this parish before.

The village was tastefully decorated with flags, banners, and evergreens, and loyal mottoes were displayed in prominent positions. Venetian poles were placed on each side of the thoroughfare in High Street, from which were suspended festoons of flags of every colour and nationality. Bunting was also displayed from the Church tower, and the Rectory windows. Mr. W. Rogers' place of business, which faces down the street, attracted general admiration for its artistic decoration of flags, evergreens, and a conspicuous portrait of the Queen over the main entrance. The Holly Bush Inn, a short distance away, was also decorated with foliage, and both made up a very pretty rural scene.

Narrator 2 (from the far entrance)

In 1890, it is recorded that a Bath chair was bought for parish use ...

Jessie enters on her motorised chair and goes round (stage left to stage right) in front of the floats PA: 'The Chain' by Fleetwood Mac

Narrator 2

... (ad lib according to how the spirit moves!) [Narrator 2 then moves to the Parish Council float]

Census Man (on the stage)

In 1891 the population of the parish had risen to 1,783.

Year 1891- Population 1,783 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

In September of that year, the Chestnut Tree was planted on the triangle - site of the old stocks - by the Rector, Mr Laverty, the butcher, Mr Wakeford, and the landlord of the Holly Bush, Mr Kenyon.

Narrator 2 (from the Parish Council float)

The first Parish Meeting under the Local Government Act was held in the Schoolroom, on December 4th, 1894. There were 18 candidates for 12 seats, and a poll took place on Monday, December 17th. [Narrator 2 then moves to RR entrance]

Readers 1 (& 2) (on the stage)

The successful candidates are: Alexander Ingham Whitaker (Grayshott Hall) 120 votes; R. S. Gardner (Hatch House Farm) 115; George Bone (Bird's Nest Farm) 110; Rev W. H. Laverty (rector) 110; Miss Catherine I'Anson (Grayshott) 87; Albert J. Harding (Lindford) 79; Oliver Chapman (Grayshott) 78; Thomas Faulkner (Standford) 70; Thomas Carter (Eveley Gardens) 69; C. H. Beck (schoolmaster) 65; George Warren (Standford) 63; and Charles David (Headley Green) 57.

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

Next year, in 1895, the Headley Football Club started ... PA: 'Match of the Day' theme
and Headley nearly had its own railway, as the minutes of the Parish Council reveal ... [Narrator 1 then moves to one side]

Reader 1 (on the stage)

"Having examined the plans of the proposed new railway called the Portsmouth, Basingstoke and Godalming Railway, we consider that such a railway would be of advantage to Headley parish, provided that there be a station within a mile of Headley Street. To all intents and purposes it is settled that the station is to be at Curtis Farm House or near thereto".

Reader 2 (on the stage)

And from a Press report just a few years later:

Sat 23 Dec 1899: the latest stage in agitation for a bridge to replace the dangerous ford at Headley Mill has brought the wished-for structure well within the prospect of being built.... and we're still waiting!

Census Man (on the stage)

It's the start of a new century. And the population has gone up a staggering 40% in ten years! What's going on?

Year 1901- Population 2,497 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Census Man (on the stage)

Aha! I see Grayshott is expanding. But they're just about to split off and become a Parish on their own - so Headley's now back to just 1,831 - that's better!

Year 1902- Population 1,831 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Narrator 1 (from the stage)

On 4th August 1914 began the War to end all wars. PA: Sound of shells, gunfire, etc

Song (on the stage) - 'Goobyee' - Wendy

Narrator 1

Of the six hundred and nineteen men from the Parish who served in the First World War, ninety-six were to pay the supreme sacrifice.
[Narrator 1 then moves to one side]

Song (on the stage) - 'Hampshire Song' - Headley Theatre Club folk group

Reader 1 (on the stage)

1919 saw the start of the Girl Guides in the parish
and 1921 the start of the Women's Institute.

Narrator 2 (from the entrance)

And in that year, another Bath chair was bought for parish use ...

Jessie enters on her motorised chair and goes round (stage right to stage left) in front of the floats PA: 'The Chain'

... (ad lib again according to how the spirit moves!) [Narrator 2 then moves to the Village Hall float]

Narrator 1 (on the stage)

Feb. 1923 - The London papers had an account last December of the clever way PC Bundy saved the life of a kitten from a well on Beech Hill ...

Ding Dong Bell - Arford Bells (in front of stage)

The following is a report on the same incident from the official organ of the Swiss Union for the protection of animals:

Corné (on the stage)

'La vie d'un petit minet, tombé dans un puits profond, fut sauvée d'une manière remarquable. Après avoir essayé deux fois de rattraper le petit chat dans un seau; un 'policeman' attacha une corde à la chatte mère, et la fit descendre dans le puits; la dessus elle saisit le petit par le cou et le tint jusqu' à ce que tous les deux fussent mis en sûreté.' [Corné read this with English translation]

Reader 1 (on the stage)

And in March of the same year, the Post Office announced that the official name of the Telephone Call Office recently established on Stone Hill was to be 'Headley Down'.

Narrator 2 (from the Village Hall float)

In December 1925, from Mr McAndrew of Headley Park we had the gift of a Village Hall, primarily for the use of the Women's Institute, but also for general purposes, and to him and Mrs. Perry and others who have provided the furnishing, etc., we owe a deep debt of gratitude. [Narrator 2 then moves to the Theatre Club float]

Song (from the Village Hall float) - last two lines of 'Jerusalem'

Census Man (on the stage)

In 1921 the population was fast approaching 5,000!

Year 1921- Population 4,888 - score put up on Cricket Club float

But then ...

Whitehill Town Crier (on the stage)

Oyez, oyez, oyez! Whitehill parish formed (1929) ... (ad lib, Steve White)

Census Man (on the stage)

... take away Lindford, Bordon & Whitehill, and by 1931 Headley goes back below 2,000 - that's better!

Year 1931- Population 1,973- score put up on Cricket Club float

Narrator 1 (in front of the stage)

During the Second World War, we paid host to many Canadian servicemen. There was a cultural education on both sides.

Headley Theatre Club (on the stage) PA: 'Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?'

Dad's Army sketch

Pike (Rushing in) Mr Mainwaring, Mr Mainwaring!

Mainwaring Private Pike, come to attention. That's better. Now then, you have something to report?

Pike There's been an accident, Mr Mainwaring sir, down Long Cross Hill.

Mainwaring An accident, eh? What sort of an accident?

Pike Well it's those Canadian soldiers, billeted in the farmhouse...

(Jones rushes in)

Jones Emergency! Emergency! Call out the Home Guard!

Mainwaring We are the Home Guard, Corporal Jones. We can't call ourselves out.

Jones No sir, point taken sir, but we're needed out there - our services are required, sir. Instantaneously.

Mainwaring Private Pike here was just telling me about an accident in Long Cross Hill ...

Pike The farmhouse ...

Mainwaring To do with some Canadian soldiers ...

Jones That's it, sir - our gallant allies from overseas - they're in trouble sir, deep trouble, which only we in the Home Guard have the necessary knowledge and know-how to sort out.

(Wilson enters)

Wilson Ah, there you are, sir - I thought I might find you here.

Mainwaring Well we might as well have the complete complement in here I suppose, Sgt Wilson. Do you have an emergency to report?

Wilson Emergency? No, hardly an emergency I think, sir. Nothing on the lines of - say a German invasion or something like that.

Jones Invasion? Invasion? Ring the church bells - call out the Home Guard ...

Mainwaring Not an invasion he said, Jones.

Wilson No, it's rather silly really.

Mainwaring Well, we have an accident, an emergency, and something rather silly. That seems to sum it up. Can one of you tell me what's going on?

(Pike and Jones start together)

Pike Down the hill ...

Jones Our skill and local ...

Mainwaring (Cutting in, firmly) Sgt Wilson.

Wilson Yes sir, thank you sir. Well, I rather gather it's to do with this peculiar Canadian penchant for drinking cold beer.

Mainwaring Can't understand it. The British Empire was won on warm beer. For the lower ranks of course - I'm a Gin & Tonic man myself.

Wilson Quite so, sir. Well it appears our transatlantic cousins prefer it chilled, and having no refrigerators here, they've been keeping their bottles cool by putting them in a bucket and lowering it down a well.

Pike It's in the garden where they're billeted.

Jones Bottomless I'm told it is, sir - bottomless.

Mainwaring Hardly bottomless, Jones, or all the water would run out.

Wilson Yes, well it seems that on this occasion they loaded the bucket with rather too many bottles, with the result that the rope broke and the bottles were lost.

Mainwaring And they want us in the Home Guard to find it for them?

Wilson No, no, no, sir...

Pike Not the bottles.

Jones There's a human life at risk, sir. Even now he may be taking his last breath and thinking of the prairies.

Wilson Yes, apparently they regarded this beer so highly that they lowered one of their number down the shaft to retrieve it.

Pike And the rope broke again ...

Jones And he plunged 'splash' into icy water ...

Mainwaring Goodness - head first?

Wilson I'm told the man is standing on the bottom with water up to his chest, sir, but otherwise unharmed.

Mainwaring I see. Well, every moment counts - every allied soldier stuck down a well is one less to fight Hitler. Private Pike, there's a ladder round the back - Cpl Jones ...

Jones Yes sir - ready for orders, sir. No matter how difficult the task, you can rely on me, sir.

Mainwaring He'll need some help to carry the ladder.

Jones (Deflated) Carrying the ladder - yes sir.

Mainwaring And Sgt Wilson ...

Wilson Yes sir.

Mainwaring Can't we get those Canadian chappies to drink their beer in a civilised manner from now on?

[Band can start setting up on stage after this]

Narrator 2 (from the Theatre Club float)

There have been two previous village pageants. The first was in 1951 to celebrate the Festival of Britain, and this gave rise to Headley Theatre Club. A tradition of the Club since then has been to perform a pantomime each year, and their first offering in January 1953 was Robinson Crusoe. [Narrator 2 then moves to far entrance]

Headley Theatre Club (on their float):-

Robinson Crusoe Didn't I see you yesterday man? Friday?

Man Friday Yes. Man. Friday

Robinson Crusoe Listen, Friday. This land beyond here is mine. I'm going there now.

Man Friday No, no.

Robinson Crusoe Why ever not?

Man Friday Land mine.

Robinson Crusoe Not now it isn't ... I'll show you it's mine.

Man Friday No, no. Wait. Land mine!

Robinson Crusoe Nonsense. Get out of my way. I haven't got all day. [Crusoe brushes past him - PA: Explosion on cue - Crusoe's hat is blown back on stage]

Man Friday [Shrugs shoulders] Too late! Land mine!

Narrator 1 (in front of the stage)

During the 1970s, there were pop groups living and recording in Headley, as those living nearby at the time can testify! In particular, Fleetwood Mac lived at Benifold, and Led Zeppelin recorded 'Stairway to Heaven' in Headley Grange, which had been the old Workhouse. [Brief riff from the Band if poss.]

Census Man (on the stage)

And in 1971 the population is approaching 5,000 again - and this time, I fear, there's to be no escape!

Year 1971- Population 4,754 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Narrator 1 (in front of the stage)

During the 80s, The Headley Society was started, the Twinning Association with Corné was started ...

Narrator 2 (from among the walkers)

... and in 1987 a large party of parishioners were roused enough to travel to London and petition the Archbishop of Canterbury against the threat of building on the Rectory Field. [Narrator 2 then moves to the Parish Council float]

Reader (from the stage)

Ray Bower's Ode on the Saving of the Rectory Field ... [script not available here]

Narrator 1 (in front of the stage)

But where will the houses come next?

During the 1990s, the Holme School moved out of its original building ...

Narrator 2 (from the Parish Council float)

... and the Parish Council celebrated its centenary. [Narrator 2 then moves towards the stage]

Parish Council don long grey beards on their float

Census Man (on the stage)

The last census in 1991 put us over 5,000 at last.

Year 1991- Population 5,607 - score put up on Cricket Club float

Census Man (on the stage)

And today's population? Make sure you fill in that census form next year, and we'll know in time for the next Pageant!

Children - run round the front of the floats with blue cloth streaming behind them -
PA: river theme-Smetana's Moldau

Narrator 1 (in front of stage, speaks as children run)

And so, as today's schoolchildren take us back to the River where we began, we end our Pageant today. We hope you have enjoyed this brief look at the history of Headley.

Narrator 2 (coming to front of stage)

Our thanks to all who have helped us bring it to life. And as the river runs away into the distance, we leave you now in rousing style - with the world-famous tune written here in Headley nearly thirty years ago ... and played by some who were Headley schoolchildren themselves in the past. I give you Slide and 'Stairway to Heaven'.

As the band starts 'Stairway to Heaven', the Narrators take their bow and leave.


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